The Forgotten Moments of the Schmoedown

The Forgotten Moments of the Schmoedown

The Movie Trivia Schmoedown continues to go strong despite the current pandemic bringing an end to live and studio matches and forcing the league online. Given the unavoidable circumstances, Season 7 is well on its way to being a resounding success.

Each season, we so many wonderful moments – either story beats moments within a match. Some will live on forever, like the XX5XX moment from the inaugural Free 4 All, the reveal of the 5 Horsemen at the LA Live event and The Tackle, but there will also be many moments that are also worth celebrating and remembering that seem to fade out of conversation after a year or 2 due to the people involved no longer competing or the storyline it was involved in having come to an end. Today I want to give some love to those forgotten moments.

The breaking of the 4 Horsemen

mts collision four horsemen break-up i betray you john rocha matt knost william bibbiani ricky hayberg
“I BETRAY YOU!!”

Season 3 saw the beginning of factions within the Schmoedown, as John Rocha put together the 4 Horsemen: Rocha, Matt Knost, William Bibbiani and Robert Meyer Burnett, while Tom Dagnino put together the Lion’s Den to counter them. It’s safe to say that the Lion’s Den had the greater success, while the 4 Horsemen came to an end at Collision of Season 4.

Despite a starring debut, William Bibbiani was struggling to get over with the fans, but his yell of “I BETRAY YOU!” as he left the Horsemen to form the Growling Commandos with Ricky Hayberg and Witney Seibold was a big step in helping “The Beast” truly come into his own and set up a rivalry with Rocha. Likewise, after being the top heel of the league, this betrayal gave Rocha the chance to turn away from this and become a more respectful character, leaving a space at the top of the heel tree for Team Action to swagger into.

The “perfect” game

When someone talks about playing the perfect game, thoughts immediately go to William Bibbiani, Dan Murrell, Robert Parker and Kevin Smets. One name that is often forgotten, though, is that of Mark Ellis.

mts mark ellis jteWay back in Season 1, Mark Ellis was pitching a perfect game going into the final round of his quarterfinal against JTE. Now back in those days, the final round was a Jeopardy round, similar to the current betting round in title matches but with Schmoedown Pros able to be as many points as they had.

Both Ellis and JTE got the question right, but “Baby Carrots” had taken the risk of expecting JTE to miss and not bet enough points, losing 11-14. While this match does live on in infamy due to it leading to the Trial of JTE, Ellis’ perfect game is a moment that gets forgotten when we look back at the match.

Reilly’s greatest flub

Back in season 3, John Rocha (who hosted a Star Wars podcast) forgot that Bespin was featured in The Empire Strikes Back and has never been allowed to forget it. Over time, many of the top competitors have had their own “Bespin moments” that they have never been able to fully live down: Mike Kalinowski’s “Pudding” and “Flash”, Kevin Smets’ “Don’t tell Peter” and Ben Bateman’s “Giancarlo Stanton”. One man who always seems to get away with it, though, is Mark Reilly.

mts john rocha mark reilly“Then I hit Opponents Choice. I could have let that bad luck beat me. But I kept going and had fun. Then I had the Sandlot moment – and kept going. Who cares. Answer the questions as they come. There were no nerves, just trivia. I kept smiling and knowing that if it was meant to be, it was meant to be.” ~ Mark Reilly

During the Speed Round of Reilly’s Championship Match against John Rocha, the pair were asked “Which film features the following characters: Billy, Gale, Sidney, Dewey, Tatum, Cotton, Ghostface?” When horror-buff Reilly buzzed in, everyone was certain the he would be giving the correct answer of Scream, but instead he guessed The Sandlot and lost the point. Reilly’s reaction when the correct answer is revealed is priceless, but somehow (probably because he still managed to win the match) this great flub is often forgotten by all but Reilly.

2 in a row

feat mts collision triple threat singles championship dan murrell mark reilly john rochaEverybody remembers Ben Bateman’s recent feat of winning 2 matches in 1 night at Spectacular, where he TKO’d William Bibbiani in the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament final and then later KO’d Paul Oyama to win the title. While Impressive, it is not even the first time a Schmoedown Pro has won 2 5-round matches in a day.

That feat was achieved by “Dangerous” Dan Murrell at Season 4’s Collision. With Mark Reilly holding the Singles title, Murrell defeated both him and John Rocha in a Triple Threat to win the belt back, then had to immediately defend it as Samm Levine crashed his post-match interview to cash in his Free 4 All prize and challenge Murrell for the title.

Now Levine’s logic makes sense, that Murrell would be tired after such a big match and not be able to hit the heights again right after, but the GOAT earned his first Perfect Round 1 in the 8 question format (though he did miss the bonus question) on his way to a 26-23 defence.

The great JTE-isms

mts japeto jteJTE will always hold a special place in our heart and it is a shame that we do not get to see him compete as much anymore. While he played the heel so well, you could never bring yourself to truly hate him as you were always looking forward to his JTE-isms.

Now some have lived on better than others. His “Jew Bear” from last year’s Free 4 All remains in peoples minds due to the recency and the famous “Tricenatorustops” from the first ever Schmoedown against Cobbster is too good to ever forget! But there were also plenty of others from the littlest of evils over the years, from “The jungle rules the kingdom” to the classic answers of “Gwelmo del Toro” and my personal favourite from his Singles match against teammate Jeff Sneider “Japeto”.

The other table clear

mts free 4 all samm levine hector navarro marc andreyko robert meyer burnett dennis tzengWhen we think of table clears at the inaugural Free 4 All, our minds understandably go to XX5XX, but there was actually another one later in the event that could have massively changed the Schmoedown.

The penultimate entrant was Samm Levine, who came to the table and with a score of 3-2-2-2-2 eliminated Robert Meyer Burnett, Dennis Tzeng, Marc Andreyko and Hector Navarro. This meant that the fight for the prize would be between Levine and none other than Tom Dagnino, Leader of the Lion’s Den. Now thankfully Levine won the final round 3-1, but just imagine an alternate universe where Dagnino had won the Free 4 All and had a title shot guaranteed for one of his faction. The second half of Season 4 could have looked very different.

The Force is with Sam Witwer

As the voice and likeness of Galen Marek/Starkiller in the The Force Unleashed games and the voice of Maul, Emperor Palpatine and The Son in the current Star Wars canon, it looks like Sam Witwer may have picked up some real-life knowledge of using the Force.

When most people think of Witwer competing in the Schmoedown, they think of his last gasp victory over Ken Napzok to win the Star Wars title at Spectacular II, there were some other moments that really shouldn’t be forgotten.

Season 3’s match between The Council (Ken Napzok and John Campea) and the Force Bros (Witwer and Freddie Prinze Jr) is probably best remembered for Freddie getting a point in Round 1 that he shouldn’t leading to the rule now that answers must be spoken and written on the whiteboard, but that led us to Sudden Death and a great moment. Sudden Death was different back then: A question on the buzzer, if the Schmoedown Pro buzzed in and got the answer right, they had the chance to answer the next question for the win. Now by this pin in the match, Witwer has shown that knowledge isn’t really his problem, but he is not fast on the buzzer. So trying to get the win, he jumps in midway through the question, not realising that this would stop the question being completed. With the question standing at “Who is surrounded by droids…” Witwer somehow correctly guesses Obi-Wan Kenobi, before answering the next question correctly to win the game.

mts sam witwer captain needa 2Witwer’s next appearance was at Celebration in a Fatal Fiveway for the first ever Star Wars title. After missing his 3-pointer in the final round (though I would challenge the wording of the question), Sam seemed off his game and when asked “In The Empire Strikes Back” who barked the order “Shields up!” just before the Falcon buzzed the Star Destroyer’s bridge?” he was unable to pull the correct answer of Captain Needa. This miss meant that Napzok and Campea would go to Sudden Death, which Napzok won. Witwer made his return to the Schmoedown in another Fatal Fiveway #1 Contender Match just ahead of Spectacular and found himself in similar circumstances. If he hit his 5-pointer he would win, a miss would see Alex Damon and Joseph Scrimshaw go t Sudden Death. As the question “In The Empire Strikes Back who said “Get a shuttle ready. I shall assume full responsibility for losing them and apologise to Lord Vader.” was read out, Sam’s face was shocked as he realised the correct answer was none other than Captain Needa, earning him redemption and a shot at the title (as well as handing Damon his only loss to date).

As George Lucas famously said: “It’s like poetry, they rhyme.”

Macuga v Finstock

mts finstock marc andreyko tom dagnino josh macugaThe Wildberries became so beloved, it’s hard to remember that they were not always a team. But before that, Josh Macuga had been teamed with Finstock, a pairing that did not end amicably. This led to a moment in Season 4 where Josh Macuga and Finstock were set to play a match against each other, with the loser being banned from the league.

The day of the match came, Macuga made his way to the table and then the impossible happened: Tom Dagnino walked out alongside “Finstock” – clearly Marc Andreyko in the Finstock attire (still to date the only other person we have seen don the mask). Somehow the idea that Finstock could be anyone meant that the match continued, and in a complete shock, Josh Macuga somehow managed to come away with the victory over “Findreyko”, leading to Dagnino being (briefly) ejected from the league.

Actin v DC Movie News

So this is one that I have to include in its entirety as I absolutely love it. Action were at their heelish best with Andrew Ghai back from suspension and their constant goading of DC Movie News led to a match. Kalinowski had recently found himself without support during his #1 Contender Match against Clarke Wolfe and clearly wasn’t happy in the pre-match promos. The match was hard-fought with DC Movie News running through James Bond in Round 2 but gifting Action a strong category of Sci-Fi/Fantasy after they hit Opponent’s Choice. Action got the win and then in the post-match interviews things went crazy as Mike Kalinowski severed ties with The League and went off on his own after reducing Adam Gertler to tears.

And this then led to…

Thadd Williams v Mike Kalinowski

mts thadd williams tells mike kalinowski no

Following Kalinowski’s break from the league, we were treated to about half a year full of scenes showing Kalinowski taking over control of the Schmoedown by bribing Commissioner Thadd Williams. As well as leading to huge impacts on the league – such as the first ever Innergeekdom Tournament, the debut and rise of Mara Knopic and the Anarchy Tournament – these scenes were also great viewing and deserve remembering as we watch Thadd get further and further out of his depth.

The other Odd Couple

One of the teams to form during Anarchy was that of William Bibbiani and Matt Knost. Not even taking into account their history as former members of the Horsemen, Knost’s focus on the game and Bibbiani’s love of theatrics never felt a good mix and it was no surprise to hear Bibbiani state on the Finstock Exchange Podcast recently that the first thing they managed to agree on was making their team name “The Odd Couple”, only to find that Andreyko and Sneider had beat them to it.

Knost’s humour is something many fans have missed since his retirement and one of the best examples was during one of the Cinemaniacs’ entrances, where Bibbiani and manager Emma Fyffe came out dancing and playing with a beach ball while Knost trudged out sulkily alongside them, only for him to catch the beach ball and stat to smile and dance as he slowly deflated it.

Please come back Knost!

 

What other great moments can you think of that seem to have been forgotten over time?

The Teams That Might Have Been…

The Teams That Might Have Been…

Fans watching the Schmoedown Throwdown #1 Contender Match between KOrruption and The Family were left shocked in the post-match as Drew McWeeny announced that he would be stepping away. This leaves Andrew Ghai without a partner after having come so close to a shot at the Teams Title, which seems his best shot of winning a belt. Only time will tell what will happen, but right now the make-up of The Usual Suspects gives the opportunity of creating a team that we almost saw in 2019’s Anarchy Tournament: Andrew Ghai and Jeannine “The Machine”.

mts Jeannine the Machine Andrew Ghai Jenn Sterger

This was a team created in the second drawing of teams after The Shirewolves’ Title victory meant that they were no longer eligible for the draw. How would they have done? I think that they are 2 quality operators and the team could go far, but I do wonder if their strengths and weaknesses would be too similar to compete against the elite teams. Thinking of the alternate timeline where Drew and Jeannine teamed up for Anarchy made me begin to think of some of the other teams that we almost had through the years and how they could have impacted the league.

Which of these teams would you have loved to see?

Andrew Ghai & Rachel Cushing

Drew’s teammate in the original Anarchy draw was none other than Rachel Cushing, and I can’t even begin to imagine how this team would have performed. Rachel is one of the greatest competitors in the league, studying hard to add to her already impressive knowledge. The one potential weakness for her was always getting in front of a crowd, but having someone like Andrew Ghai as her partner would have taken this pressure off her as he would have been able to take the focus and allow her to zone in on the trivia. He may not be Clarke Wolfe, but Ghai would be a strong B-player on this tea and I think that they could’ve gone far. But the thing that would have been most interesting would have been seeing how the pair gelled together. Rachel was the ultimate babyface, whereas Ghai was firmly planting his flag as one of the greatest heels the league had ever seen. Would Rachel have been able to draw Drew to the light side? Would Drew be able to corrupt Rachel? We may never know…

Clarke Wolfe & JTE

One of the famous moments from Season 3 is The Decision. Clarke Wolfe was one of the rising stars of the league and had attracted the attention of JTE, who was fed up of carrying Finstock. JTE asked Clarke to team up with him, but she turned him down in favour of Mark Reilly, creating the Wolves of Steel, leaving JTE to pair with Jeff Sneider and create the Patriots.

Now in hindsight, it can be argued that the right decisions were made, as JTE and Sneider’s 9-0 run (including 6 consecutive title defences) is unlikely to ever be matched as they became the spine that held the Lions Den together, and while the Wolves of Steel maybe never reached the heights people expected, Reilly’s retirement led to Clarke joining Rachel Cushing to create the Shirewolves and finally win a belt.

That said though, Clarke and JTE feels like it could have been one of the original power teams, with JTE’s knowledge of categories like Sly & Arnie overlapping well with Clarke’s knowledge of Horror. I can’t help feel that the early matches for this pair may have gone even better than they went for the Patriots! And more than anything, we may have seen JTE remain “Every Man’s Hero” rather than be corrupted to “Little Evil”.

Clarke Wolfe & Drew McWeeny

Ghai & Cushing wasn’t the only Anarchy team we were denied by the Shirewolves’ winning the belt, as the initial draw had also created the pairing of Clarke Wolfe and Drew McWeeny… and what a team it would have been! McWeeny was one of the most knowledgeable in the game, and Clarke would have just added to the knowledge while also bringing more of a competitive and strategic side. I think that this team would have been able to do what Take The Cannoli and The Family were eventually unable to do: get Drew McWeeny his belt back.

Dan Murrell & Mark Reilly

mts team champs mark reilly dan murrell

Before you say it, I am fully aware that this actually was a team. Season 2 saw the Ultimate Schmoedown Champion Mark Reilly and Movie Fights Champion Dan Murrell join together to for the appropriately named Team Champs, but they had a short run, losing in their second match to Top 10. Then going into season 3, Mark Reilly went his own way and eventually teamed up with Clarke Wolfe. But what a team they could have been if they had stayed together. Murrell and Reilly were the two first 2-time Singles Champions, so to have the pair working together in the Teams Division could have potentially seen an early dominance that eclipsed that of the Patriots. Even in today’s league, I think they would be up there pushing for the title”

With both of them joining the new-look Horsemen after coming out of retirement, I thought that we may see Team Champs return, but Anarchy saw them broken up and forming successful teams with John Rocha and Ben Bateman. Had Matt Knost stayed in the league following the end of the season, we may have seen Team Champs reform, but with him leaving, it made sense for Murrell to stick with John Rocha and Reilly to stick with Bateman and eventually bring him into the Horsemen.

7 of the Best Schmoedown Matches

7 of the Best Schmoedown Matches

In the build-up to the Atlanta live event, I wrote about how the Singles Championship Match between Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dangerous” Dan Murrell had the potential to be the greatest match in the history of the league. Looking back, it certainly didn’t disappoint, as Ben Bateman came from behind to take a 5 point lead, only for the game to go to overtime, where Murrell won. While it doesn’t quite get my vote for the greatest match of all time, it is certainly up there on the list, and that got me thinking: What would I pick as the greatest matches of all time?

This is obviously my own personal list, so I would love to hear your picks. I will also not be including any Free 4 Alls as it would be unfair to compare a 4-hour event to a single match. I’ve also chosen not to rank these movies as I think my list would constantly change as I re-watched some of these matches. So in honour of this being the Schmoedown’s 7ᵗʰ season, I give you my top 7 matches in the history of the league.

Honourable mentions:

Bateman v Murrell

mts atlanta ben bateman v dan murrell finish

The live crowd was on fire for this match with the Action Army there in force to cheer (or boo) for Ben Bateman, while the thrill of seeing the GOAT going for his 4ᵗʰ Singles Title had people hyped. Add to that all the build-up with the controversy over who would manage each of the competitors and this match had all the build-up it needed. From the promos from Tom Dagnino and John Rocha (so much for a gentleman’s agreement of no promos), to Dan’s early snark (“Sir John Woo”) and this was already building nicely. Bateman came into Round 2 with a 3-point deficit but pulled a point back, before Rounds 3 and 4 swung the scoreline heavily in his favour, and the crowd were vibing off his reactions. Then for this to go to overtime and we were in for a treat, ended with the GOAT keeping his 100% record in live events and taking the title back.

Kalinowski v Cushing II

mts Rachel Cushing Throwdown Innergeekdom Belt

My vote for the greatest match of all time would be the inaugural Schmoedown Throwdown that saw Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing challenge Mike “The Killer” Kalinowski for the Innergeekdom Title. They had faced each other much earlier in their careers (Rachel getting the win), while Rachel had also beaten Mike in a Triple Threat in the Singles Division. This was the first time that they had faced off since Mike had turned heel, however, so the battle for the belt between the top 2 in the division also being a battle of good vs evil set this on a great stage. Down 15-23 after 2 rounds, it looked over for Kalinowski, but the betting round and speed round saw an incredible swing to 20-20, one of the most incredible comebacks I have ever seen! After both went perfect in Round 5, it went to Sudden Death and the title was decided by just a vowel as Rachel Cushing won the Innergeekdom Title she had been dreaming of to become double-belted.

Murrell v Rocha

mts john rocha first singles title

Season 4 was the year that the show really started to become what we know today, but its Championship Matches often seem forgotten when we look back. Back in the early days of the league, there were 3 superstars: Mark “Yodi” Reilly, “Dangerous” Dan Murrell and “The Outlaw” John Rocha. Defending Champion Dan Murrell came into this match with a 5-0 record but Rocha, the original heel, was gunning for the belt. The pair could not be separated in Round 1 and while Murrell managed to open a 1-point lead during the wheel round, Rocha had brought things back level going into the final round. It ended with Murrell needing to hit his 5-pointer, which he missed, and as it was announced that Rocha (who had himself not known the answer so didn’t realise that he had won) had won, the Outlaw let out a scream of joy that I still consider one of the most iconic moments in the history of the league.

Kalinowski v Smets

feat mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Collision-III-Mike-Kalinowski-Kevin-Smets

Kevin “The Smasher” Smets was on a roll, one of the most impressive rookies that we had ever seen, winning his first 3 matches without having to answer a question in the final round. Then at Collision, he met his match in Mike Kalinowski. Their feud had already been growing through the season and this #1 Contender Match was finally the chance to get to see them go head-to-head. Things were all level after 2 rounds. Both hit their 2- and 3-pointers and Sudden Death was looking a distinct possibility… until “Don’t tell Peter”. Saying “Peter” instead of “Harry” was a killer for Smets and Kalinowski correctly answered his 5-pointer to set up a rematch with Rachel Cushing, being overcome with emotion as his faction congratulated him.

Napzok v Witwer

mts Spectacular II Sam Witwer Star Wars Belt

Who would have expected that the match in the Star Wars Division would be remembered as the match from Spectacular II despite Andrew Ghai tackling John Rocha after Team Action v Top 10?! But this match had everything. Ken’s recent betrayal of Rachel Cushing and defection to the Lion’s Den set him up as the ultimate villain to face Sam Witwer- who would’ve thought we’d be cheering for Darth Maul! And then to the match itself, and the Iron Man format made it truly a test of knowledge v knowledge. Both of them continued to wow Mark Ellis (and probably quite a few viewers) with their insane knowledge of Star Wars, but as time war on, quotes proved to be a weakness of “The Pitboss” and allowed Witwer to pull away. The buzzer was already a known weakness for “The Warrior” however, and allowed Napzok to pull things back, with the scores level with just a few seconds left. The clock ran out halfway through the next question, Witwer suddenly had the fast hand and with a correct answer he took the Star Wars Title from Ken Napzok and wrote his name into Schmoedown history books as the winner of the first ever Iron Man and the 2ⁿᵈ Star Wars Champion.

Murrell v Ghai

If ever there was a match that looked a foregone conclusion before it began, this was it. Andrew Ghai’s claims of being “the Ghai who beat the GOAT” drew Dan Murrell out of retirement to challenge him to a match at Collision – Ghai’s first match in the Singles Division. What followed was about 20 minutes of craziness as “Dastardly” Drew Ghai showed the GOAT just how much the game had changed while he was gone, going full heel at the table and exploiting the former champion’s rustiness to come away with not just a win, but a TKO. The silence of the crowd as the match progressed showed just how stunned everyone was and as Ghai jumped up on the table to celebrate his win, you could see in Kristian’s face his dreams of a Murrell v Levine live event going up in smoke!

Shirewolves v Who’s The Boss

mts spectacular III Shirewolves Whos The Boss Clarke Wolfe Ben Bateman Rachel Cushing Mark Reilly

When the Shirewolves first won the vacant Teams Titles by defeating Sick in the Head, there were plenty of trolls who refused to acknowledge their titles due to not facing any so-called elite teams in their title run. That talk largely came to an end after their match at Spectacular III against Who’s the Boss. Mark Reilly and Ben Bateman had become an elite pairing during Anarchy and led after the first 2 rounds. However the Shirewolves hit back to take a 3 point lead into the final round. Bateman and Reilly went perfect on their 2-, 3- and 5-pointers, but Rachel Cushing and “Classy” Clarke Wolfe did the same to defend their titles 34-31 in what was my pick for the best match at Spectacular III. Oh and let’s not forget the Shirewolves’ entrance celebrating women in film and the Schmoedown, and the aftermath of this match, with Andrew Ghai tackling Ben Bateman to kick off the Action Civil War.

The greatest match in history?

The greatest match in history?

With the Movie Trivia Schmoedown going into its 7ᵗʰ season, there are a number of matches that can be looked back on as the “greatest ever”. There are so many things that go into a match being considered for that title: stakes (is a title on the line), the format (Iron Man match/3-round/5-round), rivalries, perfect rounds, perfect games, sudden death, comebacks, shock upsets, crazy wheel spins, not to mention the personalities of the competitors and the way they interact onstage. Add in the live events and an audience of hundreds watching live and things go to another level.

There have been so many fantastic matches: Dan Murrell winning the Singles Title from Ethan Erwin in New York, Rachel Cushing winning the Innergeekdom Title from Mike Kalinowski in sudden death, Mara Knopic beating Rachel Cuhing on the 11ᵗʰ question in sudden death, Andrew Ghai defeating Dan Murrell by TKO, Mark Reilly winning the Singles Title from John Rocha, Sam Witwer winning the Star Wars Title from Ken Napzok in an Iron Man match as time elapsed.

But after February 29ᵗʰ, I think we could have a new contender for the title “greatest match of all time”.

mts poster atlanta live

No offence to Alex Damon and Emily Jacobson, but I am of course talking about the Singles Championship Match between Ben “The Boss” Bateman and “Dangerous” Dan Murrell.

Dan Murrell entered the league in Season 2 as part of Team Champs alongside Mark Reilly, but it was in the Singles Division that he made his name, with his exploits in Seasons 3 and 4 having him considered the GOAT of the Schmoedown before his retirement. He returned in Season 5 and after a bumpy start, his partnership with John Rocha in the Founding Fathers and his return to success in Singles brought him back into the GOAT discussion, with his absence from Innergeekdom (until now) the main argument to put Rachel Cushing ahead of him.

MTS Spectacular IV Horsemen Murrell Rocha Reilly Bateman Dagnino StergerBen Bateman joined the league in Season 4 as part of Team Action, but it was Andrew Ghai’s suspension at the end of the season that really kick-started his Singles career going into Season 5. While he showed flashes on his own, it looked like he was potentially on the road to a good but not great Singles career, until he smashed his way through the 2019 Ultimate Schmoedown, finishing off by winning the final against William Bibbiani at Spectacular IV and returning later int he evening to win the title from Paul Oyama via KO. Murrell will be his first attempt at defending his title.

These 2 competitors are stars of the league and have become part of the most successful iteration of the Horsemen, who find themselves at the head of The Finstock Exchange. While they may be teammates within the Exchange, these are 2 driven individuals and neither will want a loss on their record. Ben Bateman is one of the driving forces of the new wave of Schmoedown competitor. He coined the term “Schmoedown Pro” and has embodied it, going heavy on the study not just of the movies, but also his opponents and the game, to ensure that he has the strategy to beat anyone. Murrell has certainly developed more strategy since his return to the league, but his game has always been more about having the superior knowledge and it is a shock if he misses more than a couple of questions in a match. This difference in styles will be incredible to see play out in front of us.

feat mts Movie-Trivia-Schmoedown-Houston-Live-Five-Horsemen-Booker-T

Add in the extra historical significance of this match: Dan Murrell has never lost at a live event, with 6 victories and a Free 4 All victory to his name. Bateman is 3-2 in live matches. Murrell has never lost when coming in as a #1 Contender, whereas this is Bateman’s 1ˢᵗ title defence. If Bateman wins, he will be the 5ᵗʰ of the 9 Singles Champions to have successfully defended the title at least once. If Murrell wins, he becomes the only 4-time Singles Champion and only the 4ᵗʰ double-belted champion.

I may be jinxing this match, but with so much at stake and 2 elite competitors in front of a manic crowd, I really think we could be looking at the greatest Schmoedown match of all time. Who do I think will win? I can’t separate the 2, so I’m going to chicken out and call The Finstock Exchange the winners.

Tickets for the live event are available at theschmoedownlive.com where you can also purchase access to the live stream, or if you are a $10+ patron on the Schmoedown Patreon you will automatically be granted access to the live stream. It will be available to watch at a later date, but I don’t think this is one to be missed!

mts bateman murrell atlanta

TO BELT AND BACK: Which Former Champion Will Take Their Title Back Next?

TO BELT AND BACK: Which Former Champion Will Take Their Title Back Next?

Back in 2018, I made a decision to expand my focus to include the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – a combination of movie trivia and WWE entertainment. As the brand grew, my writing on here came to an end in November 2018 as I was given the chance to write for their new website, TriviaSD.com along with a number of other Schmoedown bloggers. Recently it was announced that as the crew’s focus is needed elsewhere, it was announced that the site will be coming to an end. This means that the Schmoedown will be making a return to this site!

First of all, I want to give a big thank yous:

  • To Schmoedown creator and Chairman of the league Kristian Harloff and TriviaSD.com Managing Editor William Bibbiani for giving me the chance to write for the site
  • To the cast and crew, who continue to create an amazing product that is just going from strength to strength
  • To the fans, who have helped to create such an amazing community

Over the space of a couple of weeks, I am posting my articles from the site onto here. As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.

Posted to TriviaSD.com 15/7/2019


The Shirewolves made history once again at Collision III when they became the first team to reclaim the Teams title. It’s is a feat that had accomplished before: the Patriots lost their rematch against Above The Line, while Top 10 failed to get revenge on the Patriots twice, including the infamous “Jane Fonda” match.

As of now, nobody has ever regained their belt in the Innergeekdom Division, and in fact Mike Kalinowski will be the first former Champion in the division to even challenge for the belt again, as both Mara Knopic and Jason Inman stepped away from competition following their title losses, and Burnett and Navarro have not yet been able to get back to the top of the rankings.

The only division that has really seen any repetition of champions has been the Singles Division. Dan Murrell is currently enjoying his 3rd title reign, while both John Rocha and Mark Reilly have won the belt on 2 separate occasions.

Seeing the Shirewolves start their second reign as team Champions got me thinking: who (if anyone) will be able to regain their title by the end of the season? Having thought about it, I’ve selected the five players I think are most likely. (For all you fans of the Star Wars Division, Ken Napzok and Sam Witwer would have definitely been in the discussion if they were playing, but a recent comment from Kristian suggested that the next #1 Contender Match will likely involve people who competed at Celebration and that the winner would be in the last Title Match that the division holds this year.)

Mike Kalinowski

As mentioned, Kalinowski is the first former Innergeekdom Champion to earn a second shot at the belt, having just defeated Kevin Smets at Collision. He is without a doubt one of the top three current Innergeekdom competitors and even though he has lost to Rachel both times they faced off in the Division (and also once outside the Division, when she KO’d him in a Triple Threat #1 Contender Match), he has more than enough knowledge to go the distance again, just like when he lost the belt to Cushing in Sudden Death. The match is set to be held live in San Diego during Comic-Con, which I think gives “The Killer” a slight advantage, as live events seem to bring the best out of him. Either way, it could be a contender for Match of the Year.

John Rocha

“The Outlaw” is a former Teams Champion and two-time former Singles Champion, but it is in the Teams division where I think he’s more likely to regain a title this year. While he may no longer be part of Top 10, his new partnership with Dan Murrell has created a formidable team. At 3-1, the Founding Fathers aren’t far off from a shot at the title and they certainly have the pedigree to take down the Shirewolves. Even if they find their run halted by a loss, they could take advantage of Murrell’s Free 4 All victory to get themselves an immediate title shot at any time.

William Bibbiani

“The Beast” claimed the vacant Singles Title after Samm Levine walked away from Competition but lost it to John Rocha on his first defence. One of the best in the game in terms of overall knowledge, he can never be ruled out of a match and even won a Triple Threat match earlier this year against Ethan Erwin and John Rocha. Bibbs hasn’t played in the Singles Division since his loss to Dan Murrell at the start of May, but as the Free 4 All MVP, he has the chance to cash in a #1 Contender Match at any time, which means he’s only ever two wins away from reclaiming the belt.

Ethan Erwin

If we’re taking about incredible knowledge, then we need to mention Ethan Erwin, who Kristian Harloff recently stated on Collider Live was unable to feature in the Free 4 All but played along and would have made it to the end, knocking Bibbiani out earlier in the event. Erwin is the only competitor to date to win the Singles Title in his rookie year and though he lost on his first defence, Dan Murrell needed to play a 100% accurate game to earn the victory. Erwin’s partnership with Jeannine may also lead tohim gaining knowledge in areas that he would have previously considered weaknesses, making him even more dangerous. He may not have any fast-track to a title, but don’t bet against him going on a strong tournament run to earn a title shot at Spectacular.

Dan Murrell

The most hypothetical one on the list, since in order to reclaim the belt Murrell would first have to lose it. But imagine for one moment that Murrell has a bad day at the office and loses to Paul Oyama, he still has every chance of becoming a 4-time Singles Champion by the end of the season. First of all, he would have the option of cashing in his Free 4 All victory to earn an immediate title shot, and even if he has to go through the tournament to earn another shot, you should never bet against the GOAT. Murrell has a wide and deep knowledge and has worked on his strategy since coming back from his hiatus, while having some of the best competitors in the game in his faction means that he’ll have plenty of support and advice coming his way if he needs it.

Do you think I missed anyone? Let me know in the comments who you think has the best chance of regaining their title.

WORLD’S GREATEST DAN: “Dangerous” Dan Murrell’s Top 10 Schmoedown Moments!

WORLD’S GREATEST DAN: “Dangerous” Dan Murrell’s Top 10 Schmoedown Moments!

Back in 2018, I made a decision to expand my focus to include the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – a combination of movie trivia and WWE entertainment. As the brand grew, my writing on here came to an end in November 2018 as I was given the chance to write for their new website, TriviaSD.com along with a number of other Schmoedown bloggers. Recently it was announced that as the crew’s focus is needed elsewhere, it was announced that the site will be coming to an end. This means that the Schmoedown will be making a return to this site!

First of all, I want to give a big thank yous:

  • To Schmoedown creator and Chairman of the league Kristian Harloff and TriviaSD.com Managing Editor William Bibbiani for giving me the chance to write for the site
  • To the cast and crew, who continue to create an amazing product that is just going from strength to strength
  • To the fans, who have helped to create such an amazing community

Over the space of a couple of weeks, I am posting my articles from the site onto here. As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.

Posted to TriviaSD.com 1/5/2019


When you talk about the Schmoedown, it doesn’t take long for conversation to turn to “Dangerous” Dan Murrell. The reigning Singles Champion and Free 4 All Champion is the only person to have held the Singles Title on three separate occasions and his partnership with “The Outlaw” John Rocha is more than capable of challenging for the Teams title too.

But with six victories in title matches and plenty of other iconic events in his history, the question then becomes “What is the best Dan Murrell moment?” I’ve looked back through his time in the league to present my top ten.!

What would make your list?

10. Dan’s First Faction

Murrell had clearly been doing well enough on his own during Season 3 as he went 5-0 in the Singles Division, with 3 victories in title matches and 3 TKOs in that spell.

By this point, Murrell and Rocha were clear rivals and during his interview after defending his title at Spectacular against Mark Ellis, Murrell was firing some shots at his next opponent, who had lost the Teams Title to The Patriots earlier in the day.

His interview was soon interrupted by the arrival of the Lion’s Den, who invited him to join their faction with a number of promises, including free comic books from Marc Andreyko. With the strength of the Four Horsemen at the time, uniting the Singles and Teams Belts in one faction set up a huge rivalry between the two factions heading into Season 4.

9. Hitting a Promo

With the Schmoedown’s move to Collider and the changes that entailed, the league needed to entice people in. What better way to do in than with the incredible promos from Murrell and John Campea? With lines like “Champions do their talk in the ring” and “Nobody’s ever beat me when there’s a title on the line” as well as comparing the angry Canadian’s rants to a Pomeranian yapping, Murrell brought a quiet confidence to counter Campea’s bluster and set us up for a great season opener.

8. “It’s a New Murrell Order and I’m a Free Agent, Baby”

Murrell’s time with the Lion’s Den lasted a whole one match. In his interview following his title loss to John Rocha, he announced that he was leaving the Lion’s Den. As Murrell pointed out, he received no support from his stable mates and none of them joined him in his promo, entrance or post-match interview. And with a proclamation of “You just lost your alpha” his time in the Lion’s Den came to an end.

7. The Aftermath

It’s never nice to lose a game on a controversial moment, but that is what happened with the Founding Fathers’ Anarchy loss to KOrruption. In an emotional post-match interview, Murrell was so gracious in his loss and talked about how low a loss can make you feel and showed how much the Schmoedown meant to him. Talking about how Rocha had pulled him back following his loss to Andrew Ghai, Murrell clearly did the same in this moment with Rocha and pulled him back to prepare for his upcoming title match, while also reducing Jenn Sterger to tears. If I’m being honest, watching it back for this list got me pretty emotional too!

6. Free 4 All

In a recent article, I named XX5XX as my favourite moment from the first two Free 4 Alls. While a fantastic moment in itself, it also brought to an end a great performance from Dan Murrell. Dan Murrell’s 12 rounds lasted was the most of anyone in that event (1 more than John Humphrey) and correctly answered 47/60 questions over that spell (nobody else managed more than 28 points at the event). If his 5-1 Singles record was not already hint enough, this performance proved that the name “Dangerous” was an apt choice.

5. Dan’s First Title

TKO victories over John Campea and Scott Mantz earned Murrell a shot at Mark Reilly’s Singles Title. “Yodi” was 5-0 at this point, with a title victory over Josh Macuga and a successful defence against JTE to his name, but Murrell gave him the first loss of his Singles career with an 18-15 victory. I think the fact that Murrell’s first ever title victory shows just how great his career has been since then.

4. Free 4 All Victory

Having missed the second Free 4 All due to a personal tragedy, Murrell made his glorious return to the event in 2019. Coming out at number 31, he lasted 13 rounds and scored 42 points (only William Bibbiani could beat those numbers) to defeat MVP William Bibbiani and JTE in the second round of Sudden Death and win the event. It was a great performance and winning the event combined with being a Triple-Champion probably confirmed him as the GOAT to many fans.

3. The Five Horsemen

Andrew Ghai’s antics and his claims of beating Dan Murrell were always going to end up drawing the GOAT back to the league, and it happened at the second Los Angeles live event. With Ghai onstage making fun of a caricature of Murrell (Bateman dressed up as him and acted stupid), the music began to play and the lights went out, before turning back on to reveal four hooded figures. The new Four Horsemen revealed themselves one by one: Knost, Rocha, Inman, Reilly.

Everything went dark again and when the lights returned, a fifth figure had appeared onstage, who was revealed to be Murrell. The GOAT had put aside his rivalry with The Outlaw and they had joined together in a faction of current and former champions to take control of the lead. Murrell’s first action was to go over to Ghai and immediately challenge him to a match at Collision… I’ve never seen Ghai so scared, he was speechless!

The reveal was amazing and left me with goosebumps, and it was great to see Murrell return to the league and team up with his two greatest rivals from his original run in the league.

2. Two in a Row

After Mark Reilly won the Singles Title back from John Rocha, the next title match was arranged for the inaugural Collision: a Triple Threat between Reilly, Rocha and Murrell. In an amazing match, Murrell came away as the new champion, becoming the second two-time Champion.

He wasn’t given much time to celebrate though, as his post-match interview was interrupted by Samm Levine cashing in his Free 4 All victory and challenging Murrell for the title in the hopes that Murrell would be tired.

That logic didn’t work though, as he hit a perfect Round 1 (minus the bonus) on the way to a 26-23 victory.

Winning one match is good, winning two in a day is impressive, and winning two matches one right after another is GOAT material.

1. The Third Title

2018 was an up and down year for Murrell following his return to competition, but a win over Clarke Wolfe at Spectacular confirmed his as the next title contender. That contest would be against Ethan Erwin, live in New York. Erwin had been living up to his “Big Time” moniker and it was going to take something special to beat him, which is exactly what Dan Murrell gave us. A 100% accuracy match gave him a 25-23 victory over Erwin, and he was able to become the first 3-time Singles Champion and lift the belt to chants of “You deserve it” from the crowd.

DECENT PROPOSALS: Six Schmoedown Stipulation Matches We Want Next!

DECENT PROPOSALS: Six Schmoedown Stipulation Matches We Want Next!

Back in 2018, I made a decision to expand my focus to include the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – a combination of movie trivia and WWE entertainment. As the brand grew, my writing on here came to an end in November 2018 as I was given the chance to write for their new website, TriviaSD.com along with a number of other Schmoedown bloggers. Recently it was announced that as the crew’s focus is needed elsewhere, it was announced that the site will be coming to an end. This means that the Schmoedown will be making a return to this site!

First of all, I want to give a big thank yous:

  • To Schmoedown creator and Chairman of the league Kristian Harloff and TriviaSD.com Managing Editor William Bibbiani for giving me the chance to write for the site
  • To the cast and crew, who continue to create an amazing product that is just going from strength to strength
  • To the fans, who have helped to create such an amazing community

Over the space of a couple of weeks, I am posting my articles from the site onto here. As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.

Posted to TriviaSD.com 12/4/2019


With rankings on the line and only a couple of wins required to earn a #1 Contender Match, there is plenty of excitement surrounding every Schmoedown match already. But do you know what can make a match even more exciting?

Stipulations! An agreement between two competitors that makes the result of a match even more important. Stipulations have been used many times already in the Schmoedown, from the rematch between Team Action and Top 10 that would have forced Top 10 to break up for a year, to Bateman vs. Mantz for the right to put their face on Movie Release Dates slice.

Most recently, this week treated us to a match between JTE and Jonathan Harris. A JTE win would see the return of the Evil Geniuses with Jonathan Harris their manager, a Harris win would see the Harris Brothers continue and Jonathan picking JTE’s new partner.

And this got me thinking: what other possible stipulation matches could we see in the Schmoedown?

Battle for Boston

Sometimes you don’t know how much you’ve missed something until you see/hear it again. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who realised that was the case as “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” started to play at the Free 4 All to announce the return of JTE. With the end of the Patriots and JTE’s injury, this entrance music has been sorely missing since Collision and it was great to hear it again.

However, our chances have been limited. One of JTE’s first acts back in the league was to tell his former partner that this was his music and only he could use it. Will Sneider be OK with that or will he want the song back?

Sneider could set up a match with JTE and – as if these two former friends going against each other isn’t exciting enough – challenge him to put “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” on the line. A win for “Little Evil” lets him keep the song for his entrance music, a win for Sneider would see JTE have to stop using the song and allow “The Insneider” permanent rights to the song.

Space in the Stable

One of the ongoing stories of Season 6 has been the rebuilding of the Horsemen, now that Matt Knost has retired and Jason Inman took a leave of absence. With the success of his new team Who’s The Boss, Reilly has suggested to Rocha that Ben Bateman come in as one of the new Horsemen, an idea that Dan Murrell seemed amenable to but Rocha – who has history with “The Boss” – was not so happy about.

But what if Ben’s potential future came down to a 1v1 match between Reilly and Rocha? A win for Reilly sees his partner become a Horsemen, a win for the Outlaw will see them move on from Ben as an option and look elsewhere for new recruits.

A Grand (?) Entrance

William “The Beast” Bibbiani and Witney “The Beauty” Seibold are not just a very knowledgeable team, they are also one of the teams who will go all-out on their entrances. We all love them and look forward to what they’ll do next. But you know who may not feel the same? The poor editors who have an increased workload.

So far, the crew have done a great job of allowing the pair to run wild with their ideas, but former Commissioner Thadd Williams may decide that enough is enough and, along with his teammate Aaron Wilhelm, take on Critically Acclaimed in a Teams match with a twist: a win for Deep Cuts would see Bibbiani and Seibold have to tone down their entrances to just walking out in cosplay to different music for a specified amount of time.

The Battle of Champions

Who wouldn’t want to see a match between “Dangerous” Dan Murrell and Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing?! The Singles Champion and Innergeekdom Champion have yet to face each other in competition and there is a good chance that if they ever do, it could be one of the greatest matches ever.

While Murrell does have a title shot to use whenever he wants, following his Free 4 All victory, he has been quick to say that he does not see himself entering the Innergeekdom anytime soon. Likewise, Cushing has taken a similar stance towards competing in the Singles Division while she is Teams and Innergeekdom Champion. There is one stipulation that could make a match between the pair be too good for either to resist however: Winner Takes All!

Murrell puts the Singles belt on the line and Cushing the Innergeekdom belt in a 5-round singles match that includes your usual Singles categories but also a couple of categories you would usually only find in Innergeekdom. While Cushing would keep the Teams belt regardless of the result, the winner would become Singles and Innergeekdom Champion.

School’s Out?

We’ve already seen “The Professor” Lon Harris trying (and failing) to teach Eliot Dewberry the finer side of cinema, a lesson from which Josh Macuga managed to successfully play truant. Perhaps it’s time for Professor Harris to try a new tactic.

The Professor could challenge Macuga to a Singles match with a twist: a win for Harris would see the Wildberries (including manager Ricky Hayberg) have to attend a mandatory series of classes led by the Professor and his esteemed colleague Jonathan Harris. A win for Macuga would see the Harris Brothers have to join the Wildberries for a wild party. Who else wants to see the Professor doing a keg stand?

What’s in a Name?

Tim “The Tank” Franco made his Schmoedown debut with a TKO victory over Matt Atchity in Season 4 but has unfortunately not competed since. Now, his nickname of “The Tank” appears at risk: fans of the Schmoedown Rundown have heard Frank Janisch trying to make that name his own.

Could this be what it takes to draw Tim Franco back into competition, with Janisch making his competitive debut? The prize: the rights to the nickname “The Tank”. Will Frank Janisch be able to get rid of that “Jenga” nickname? For a bonus, let’s get Frank’s fellow Rundown host Brad Gilmore on the desk and see who he cheers for.

What other stipulation matches would you love to see? Sound off in the comments!

LET’S GET DANGEROUS: The Schmoedown History of Dan Murrell!

LET’S GET DANGEROUS: The Schmoedown History of Dan Murrell!

Back in 2018, I made a decision to expand my focus to include the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – a combination of movie trivia and WWE entertainment. As the brand grew, my writing on here came to an end in November 2018 as I was given the chance to write for their new website, TriviaSD.com along with a number of other Schmoedown bloggers. Recently it was announced that as the crew’s focus is needed elsewhere, it was announced that the site will be coming to an end. This means that the Schmoedown will be making a return to this site!

First of all, I want to give a big thank yous:

  • To Schmoedown creator and Chairman of the league Kristian Harloff and TriviaSD.com Managing Editor William Bibbiani for giving me the chance to write for the site
  • To the cast and crew, who continue to create an amazing product that is just going from strength to strength
  • To the fans, who have helped to create such an amazing community

Over the space of a couple of weeks, I am posting my articles from the site onto here. As some of these are almost a year old, some of them are somewhat outdated and may have proved to be completely off the mark.

Posted to TriviaSD.com 6/2/2019


Season 6 kicked off with an event that will go down in Schmoedown history: the first live event in New York, the first Schmoedown event to be live streamed… and Dan Murrell becoming the first competitor to win the Singles Title for a 3rd time!

During his time in the Schmoedown, “Dangerous” Dan Murrell has been a fan favourite. I started watching the Schmoedown myself just after Reilly v Rocha III; I saw so many fans online hyping up Dan Murrell and when I finally got to see him compete in a match at Collider Collision, it was clear that the hype was well deserved.

So in honour of the Champion’s victory, let’s take a chance to go back down memory lane and look at Murrell’s Schmoedown career to date!

Rising Star

Dan Murrell’s entry to the Schmoedown came in Season 2 as part of the first ever team tournament. Already the Screen Junkies Movie Fights Champion, Murrell paired up with Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Champion Mark “Yodi” Reilly to form the aptly named Team Champs. Their first round opponents were the B-Team (Cody Hall, Cobbster and Ace Cabrera) who were unable to pull out a victory despite having an extra man. Team Champs were beaten in the quarterfinals by Top 10, but the 18-19 final score was the closest losing margin in the tournament.

Murrell made his Schmoedown return and his Singles debut in the Season 3 opener against John Campea. He TKO’d Campea with a 6-13 score and followed this up with a 16-11 TKO victory over Scott Mantz to set up a title match against his former teammate.

Reilly came into this match with a 5-0 record, but Murrell handed him his first ever loss in Singles with a 15-18 victory to win in his first ever Championship Match. He soon had to defend his title against Clarke Wolfe – who went on to be crowned 2016 Rookie of the Year – where in a dominant performance he earned his 3rd TKO victory in 4 matches, with a score of 11-4.

Mark Ellis worked his way through the field in the 2016 Ultimate Schmoedown tournament to challenge Murrell for the belt at Schmoedown Spectacular, but once again Murrell emerged with the victory, 23-20. This match is notable for being Murrell’s first perfect Round 1, though it must be remembered that this was in the old format where competitors were only asked 6 questions and each competitor received different questions.

The Three Champions

Up until this point, Murrell had been a lone wolf or accompanied by some of his Screen Junkies colleagues, but following victory over Mark Ellis he accepted an invitation to join the Lion’s Den, furthering a rivalry with John Rocha, who was targeting all the belts and all the records. Rocha’s win over Reilly at Spectacular earned him a Championship match against Murrell and the Champ finally received his first loss in Singles, by a margin of 20-21. After this match, Murrell chose to leave the Lion’s Den as he felt he was not getting the support he wanted from them. He chose instead to fly solo.

Murrell’s next Schmoedown outing was at the 2017 Free 4 All. Coming in at number 12 (out of 35), Murrell’s 11 rounds was the longest anyone lasted that year, and his total points (47) was 19 more than his closest competitors, John Rocha and John Humphrey. However, Murrell was unable to get the victory here: he was eliminated along with Rocha, William Bibbiani and Drew McWeeny in one of the greatest moments of Schmoedown history: XX5XX.

After Mark Reilly won the belt back from Rocha, the three of them competed at Collider Collision in a Triple Threat match for the title. Reilly was the first to be eliminated in Round 5 and Murrell won the belt back on the final question, with a final score of 13-22-26. He wasn’t given long to savour his victory though, as his interview was interrupted by Samm Levine appearing at the table and cashing in his Free 4 All victory for a shot at Murrell. Samm’s logic was that Murrell would be tired, but he instead earned his first Perfect Round 1 in the 8-question format (though he missed the bonus) on the way to a 26-23 victory to retain the belt.

Stepping Away

By this point, the Commissioner Kristian Harloff was on his revenge tour and a victory over Jeff Sneider at Collision set him up for a September showdown with Murrell. In a match where points were hard to come by, Harloff emerged the victor to become the 3rd competitor to hold the Singles Title. Following the match, Murrell shocked the world by announcing his retirement from the Schmoedown, stating that with all the new blood coming into the league it was time someone else had a shot at the title, but vowing that he would return at some point.

Time went on, Samm Levine went on a run through both the Singles and Teams Ultimate Schmoedowns, winning the Singles belt but losing the Team Championship to the Patriots, with his partner Drew WcWeeny. Samm defended his title against Rachel Cushing and Above the Line beat Modok to earn another shot at the Teams Title. As this incredible run continued, debates began amongst the fans as to whether the title of Greatest Of All Time had to move from Murrell to Levine… yet still we heard nothing from Dan.

The Return

Before we knew it, the 2018 Free 4 All was here. 48 competitors all competing for a title shot of their choice. RB3 was eliminated and the 47th competitor was about to be announced. The entrance music began and it was unmistakably the Jaws theme that Murrell always came out to. Kristian began his announcement at the desk: “Representing Screen Junkies… Ladies and gentlemen… Dangerous Dan Murrell!” The world was buzzing with excitement at the GOAT’s return, only for Andrew Ghai to emerge, giving the middle finger salute to anyone and everyone, announcing that he’d killed Murrell and buried him.

Over the next few weeks, he would go around proclaiming himself the Ghai that beat the GOAT, prancing around the Collider studios as if he owned the place. At the end of the second live event at the El Portal Theatre, Andrew Ghai came back on stage and announced to the crowd that he could get Dan Murrell there tonight. This “Dan Murrell” turned out to be none other than his Team Action teammate Ben Bateman in costume, and the pair of them mocked him publicly. The bear had been prodded… or perhaps I should say the Horse…

The lights went out and when they came back up, four hooded figures were on the stage. The revealed themselves one by one: Knost, Rocha, Inman, Reilly, all holding up the four-fingered sign of the Four Horsemen. Then their salute changed, from four fingers to five, the lights went down again and a fifth hooded figure appeared, and was revealed, and it was none other than Dan Murrell. The Five Horsemen had formed, with the original 3 Singles Champions all in one stable. Murrell told Ghai right then and there that he’d had enough and pressured him into a match at Collision.

Mixed Results

Of course, things didn’t go as planned when that match came around. Kal the Schmoe Dog’s theft meant that Reilly was not there to support his stablemate and when he got to the table, Murrell realised just how much the game had moved forward while he was away. A combination of ring-rust, being put off by Ghai’s antics and poor luck when spinning the Wheel saw Ghai shock the world. Andrew Ghai hand Dan Murrell his first ever TKO defeat: 14-16!

Murrell’s next match came at Season 5’s final live event as he and new teammate John Rocha took on Wait, I Know This! in the opening match of the Ultimate Schmoedown Anarchy tournament. With two former champions teaming up, the Founding Fathers made short work of Stacy Howard and Winston Marshall with a 20-17 TKO victory.

The Founding Fathers were many people’s favourites to win the tournament, but they had a much tougher test in the second round, against KOrruption. The teams could not be separated over 3 rounds and a 30-30 score saw them go to Sudden Death. On the first question, Murrell was unable to get his answer down in time and following the “Jane Fonda Rule” did not get the point, while Rocha and Kalinowski both got the correct answer of “David O. Russell” and Chance Ellison was controversially given the point for the phonetically correct “David O’Russell,” knocking Murrell and Rocha out.

Watching an emotional post-match interview, I’m sure I wasn’t the only person worrying that Murrell would be unable to get back to the heights of his first spell in the league, but he was ready to prove me wrong.

Murrell was one of six players to be given an automatic entry into the 2018 Ultimate Schmoedown Singles tournament, while Chance Ellison won a spot with the magic number and Ben Bateman earned his spot by running the gauntlet. Murrell’s first round match was against Stacy Howard and he came away with the 18-7 KO victory. This was a notable match for Murrell as not only was this the first time he managed a perfect Round 1 and hit the bonus point, it was also the first time that he finished with 100% accuracy, a feat that only 3 other competitors (Mark Ellis in Season 1, William Bibbiani on his debut and Rachel Cushing in Innergeekdom) have achieved.

Next up though was rookie sensation Ethan Erwin in the semifinal and the league’s new “Big Time” competitor proved too much for Murrell, who had a bad day with just 60% accuracy and earning 46% of the points available to him, on the way to a 12-13 TKO defeat.

The Road to New York

Any other year and that would have meant his season was over, but it had been announced that this year’s losing semi-finalists would compete in a third-place playoff, the winner of which would face the losing finalist in a Number 1 Contender match at Spectacular III. Murrell faced Marc Andreyko in the playoff and blew the Android away for a 15-14 TKO victory, managing to hit a perfect Round 1 and the bonus question for the second time in his career.

This result left him facing Clarke Wolfe at Spectacular III for the chance to face either Ethan Erwin or stablemate John Rocha at the Season 6 opener in New York. This match was much closer than when they faced previously, but Clarke again succumbed to a 12-15 TKO defeat, likely fatigued from having already defended the Teams Title earlier in the event. In the conclusion to the season, Ethan Erwin completed his run through the Singles Division with a victory over John Rocha to become the first rookie to win the Singles Title, setting up a rematch with Murrell in New York.

What felt like years of no new Schmoedown matches passed, but eventually the big day came. Dan Murrell came to New York without any of his fellow Horsemen, but with a clear determination to win the title back. In front of a raucous crowd, Murrell managed to hit a perfect Round 1 with the bonus question for the third time, to open up a 2 point lead. He went 4/4 in Round 2, checking down once to multiple choice, while 8 points from Erwin narrowed his lead to 1 point, which disappeared as both answered correctly in Round 3, but Murrell only bet 2 points to Erwin’s 3. Erwin took an early lead in Round 4, beating Murrell to the buzzer on the first 2 questions for 2 points. Murrell pulled it back with the next 2, but Erwin got the final question to take a 1 point lead into Round 5. Both competitors hit their 2-pointer, then Murrell hit his 3-pointer to send things back to Erwin. The Champion missed on both his 3- and 5-pointers, giving Murrell a 23-25 victory while the crowd went wild and began a chant of “You deserve it!”

The Future of “Dangerous” Dan Murrell

With this historic third Singles title and second match with 100% accuracy (the only competitor to manage this more than once), the debate begins again as to who the GOAT really is: Dan Murrell or Samm Levine. I think that it is relatively safe to call Murrell the GOAT of the Singles Division considering the incredible accuracy in his victories: five perfect Round 1s and two 100% accuracy games is unheard of.

As for the Teams Division, his impact here has been limited so far, but expect having a belt in the faction to spur the Founding Fathers on to greater heights this season. By the end of Season Six we could see “Dangerous” Dan Murrell added to the list of competitors to hold belts in multiple divisions, something currently only Levine, Rocha and Harloff can boast.

Or could he even follow Levine into becoming the second double-champion…?